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Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Oct 02

Astrolab Solar-Electric Hybrid Vehicle

Posted in Electric Cars | Energy Industry | Energy Inventions | Hybrid Cars | Photovoltaic Cells | Solar Power | Transportation

Solar Electric CarAstrolab, the world’s first commercial solar car, will be available in January 2008 thanks to automobile designer Sacha Lakic. The car was developed by the French manufacturer, Venturi. The vehicle is powered by energy from the sun – the 16kW electric motor requires very little energy for propulsion. The solar hybrid can travel a minimum distance of 110 kilometres and has a top speed of 120kph. The chassis is molded out of a high-tech lightweight carbon monocoque material in order to maintain an efficient form. 3.6 metres of photo-voltaic cells are integrated into the chassis.

It’s not often we get lead stories on consecutive days from the same company (never before in fact) but French transportation futurists Venturi have done it again –this time with the first solar electric hybrid to be commercialized in the world.

Named Astrolab (latin astro = star, labe = to take) because it takes its energy from the sun in order to move, the solar commuter is capable of working with very little energy (16 kW engine) and of recharging even when in motion, and does not need to be permanently exposed to the sun in order to move. The car’s performance is remarkably close to that of a petrol-engined vehicle as it has a top speed of 120 kmh and a minimum range of 110 km.

To attain this level of performance while using very little energy, the Astrolab has been designed like a Formula 1 car with an ultra-light carbon monocoque chassis serving as an over sized protection cell in the event of a collision and at the same time offering a large surface for the 3.6 square metres of photovoltaic cells. Its profile recalls the aqua-dynamic design of great racing yachts and Venturi draws the parallel between Astrolab and a sailboat : both advance silently while making best use of the elements and both offer sensations unlike any other.

Its designer Sacha Lakic describes Astrolab as “a flying wing set on four wheels.” Astoundingly, it’s not just a show car – EUR92,000 will buy you one and the first vehicles are scheduled for delivery in January, 2008.

» Source: gizmag

  • Renier Burger

    Is it possible to get hold of the Astrolab 16 kw electric motors? What will it Cost?

    R. Burger

  • manjit

    Please proceed to mass manufacture it and sell it as cheap as possible as this type of car will help mother nature a lot.

    Buy this vehicle as it will save the world. Else we are paying to get ourself destroyed

  • PeterG

    We all know the positive arguments for why this is potentially a useful vehicle.

    Now please go to Venturi’s site and download the video (link below). There are NO sequences shot while the car is driving up hill, and there are no sequences shot while the driver and passenger are attempting to enter the vehicle via some sort of overhead crane.

    http://www.venturi.fr/IMG/Media/astrolabV7-2.wmv

    The top speed of 120 Km/h is measured downhill with a tailwind. It crawls uphill painfully slowly.

  • PeterG

    But I still like Venturi’s “beach resort buggy” – which they name: Eclectic. It can even handle a modest incline as the opening scene from their video shows:

    http://www.venturi.fr/IMG/Media/eclecticV7-1.wmv

  • Aaron

    This car will never hit the streets in America because it doesn’t even come close to meeting government safety standards. So all of the arguments are moot.

  • kvlampos

    Astrolab if I’m not wrong, it hasn’t got anything to do with Latin. It was supposedly the first calculating machine, found in the Ionian sea, in Greece, and it’s believed that it was used to determine the position of a ship according to the stars. Like a very old, manual, gps system…

  • Keith Elliott

    I note that Aaron, evidently an automotive expert, thinks the vehicle is unsafe. Do you suggest more so than any murdercycle, er… sorry motorcycle? And was not some (or all) of the video shot in the U.S.?

  • http://www.zoomilife.com Aaron

    I note that Keith, evidently that rarest of breeds (Internet critics) doesn’t understand anything about the reality of automobiles in the U.S.

    I didn’t say I didn’t want to see it here, I said it won’t be here. First, it’s nearly two years since it’s supposed “production” date. Second, vehicles that qualify as cars (four wheels) and travel faster than 35mph are required to pass USDOT and Federal Highway safety. This car can’t pass those. Just read about the vehicle.

    Take one wheel off and you can call it a murdercycle if you want and then yes, it is perfectly legal on the highway.

    So: either change the car, which would require retesting and probably retooling and design, or change the laws.

    Where the video was shot makes no difference.


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